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The Government announced a £330bn package of support to businesses will continue to announce new measures in the coming days. As these filter through, please make sure to keep checking the following websites:
- Canterbury City Council Business Support Hub
- Kent and Medway Growth Hub
- UK Government Business Support Website
For the tourism and hospitality sector we would also recommend checking: Visit Kent’s Support Page which features transport information, sector representation and monitoring, financial support, consumer messaging and the Kent Big Weekend.
ACAS have also published information for employees and employers including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.
JOB RETENTION SCHEME
All UK employers will be able to get support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. New guidance was published on 27 March that could save businesses an extra £300 a month: the government will now cover the employer national insurance and minimum auto-enrollment pension scheme contributions employers pay on the wages they must pay their furloughed staff – on top of the wages covered under the scheme. Those furloughed can volunteer for the NHS without risking their pay.
- HMRC will pay 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month.
- This will be backdated to 1 March and will be available within weeks.
- The furlough period is for a minimum of three weeks.
- Grants will be made before the end of April.
- Guidance for employers can be found here
- Guidance for employees can be found here
FIND OUT MORE including what you need to do to access the scheme.
STATUTORY SICK PAY RELIEF
This scheme will allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. FIND OUT MORE.
BUSINESS RATES HOLIDAY
Retail, hospitality, childcare providers and leisure businesses will pay no business rates for the financial year 2020 to 2021, no matter what their rateable value is. FIND OUT MORE.
Small business grant funding of £10,000 will be available for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. Grant funding of £25,000 is available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
The Grants will be allocated and paid through the local authority who will pay the money directly to the businesses.Notification of the payment will be sent directly to each business that qualifies through the local authority. FIND OUT MORE.
INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
VAT AND INCOME TAX
Deferral: If you are a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to defer the payment until a later date or pay the VAT due as normal. Further guidance can be found here.
Check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
HMRC have produced guidance to help you find out what equipment, services or supplies are taxable if your employees are working from home due to coronavirus.
Updated guidance for staff in the transport sector
This guidance will assist transport settings in addressing coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance may be updated in line with the changing situation.
Guidance for food businesses and COVID-19: Defra Update
New guidance for food businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been published. You can also find a summary of the latest news and guidance from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Other guidance on the page includes updates on latest retailer activity, summary of seasonal roundtables as well as wider advice on coronavirus.
Help Line: Businesses and those who are self-employed can access support and advice on their tax obligations and payments via a new dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline. Using this helpline, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC. The budget also states that HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.
HMRC Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 015 9559
(Mon – Fri, 8am to 8pm and Sat, 8am to 4pm)
If you are worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time. You can find out more about deferring VAT and Income Tax here
PROTECTION FOR COMMERCIAL TENANTS
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the government has announced. Many landlords and tenants are already having conversations and reaching voluntary arrangements about rental payments due shortly but the government recognises businesses struggling with their cashflow due to coronavirus remain worried about eviction. READ MORE
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met. You should check the terms and conditions of your business interruption policy and contact your insurance provider.
Banks have announced they will be offering payment holidays for loans and mortgages to help businesses and individuals affected by coronavirus. Read more here.
- Barclays has launched a free telephone helpline offering support and information to its business banking customers. It is also providing repayment holidays. Find out more.
- Lloyds has launched a £2 billion package to help minimise disruption to business operations. Support includes repayment holidays, and no arrangement fees for new or increased overdrafts, invoice discounting and finance facilities. Find out more.
- NatWest has announced a £5 billion fund to support small and medium-sized firms to deal with the impact of coronavirus. Support includes the provision of working capital, loan repayment holidays and temporary emergency loans with no fees. Find out more.
- Santander has outlined the support it is offering to customers impacted by coronavirus. Support includes a helpline and advice on managing finances. Find out more.
Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. FIND OUT MORE
Business Rates / COVID-19 Business Support Webinar
We held a Webinar on how local businesses can access information on COVID-19 business rates relief and grants with Sadie Furner, the Business Rates Team Manager at CIVICA (who work with Canterbury City Council). The webinar link and presentation are both available below and the key dates for you to note are listed below
BUSINESS RATES RELIEF:
Canterbury City Council will contact all those eligible for COVID-19 Business Rates Relief on Thursday 26 March (where they have email addresses) and on Friday 27 March (where they only have postal addresses by 2nd class post), so all those eligible for whom they have contact information will be contacted by early next week. If you have not heard from them by Thursday 9 April, there will be a form for you to fill in on Canterbury City Council’s website. We appreciate that every day is crucial and that you all need financial support as soon as possible. The Business Rates team have asked you not to contact them unless it is urgent or the answer to your question is not available online – this is to give them the time they need to process the business support details and contact you as soon as possible.
Local authorities are awaiting further details from central government, but are expecting the grant money to reach them by 1 April. In the meantime, CIVICA are preparing a new solution in order to process the grants and communicate that information to you. If you are eligible for a grant, the money will be given to you automatically.
There is a list of businesses eligible for business rates relief, regardless of your rateable value, and a list of those eligible for grants. This might change and any updates received from central government will be applied.
The grants and business rates relief is tied to your rateable value and is available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, so if you are a business in these categories who pays business rates, no matter whether you are a sole trader or self-employed for tax purpose, you will receive this financial support.